I have been asked by three people to share this gem about the horrors of having Fred Flintstone Feet. Enjoy, and hope you can shower me with compassion when we pass each other in public.
The Perils of Prodigious Podiatric Protruberances (aka, my feet)
I went shoe shopping last night. For most women, this is a blissful experience, only rivaled by having one's house professionally cleaned while one sits by on the couch, enjoying Ghiradelli squares and a nice shiraz while watching the housecleaner scrub the floors. For me, it is an exercise in frustration that I only subject myself to when my former shoes are nothing but tatters and can no longer function.
I knew I was different even as a young child, when we'd go shoe shopping and my mother would announce to the salesperson, "We need double wides. This child has Fred Flintstone feet." All eyes would immediately dart to my feet, as though they were Harry Potter's lightning bolt scar. They closely resemble rectangles with stubby toes, and could indeed propel a car made of stone wheels.
A particularly bad time for me was in fifth grade, when jelly shoes were all the rage. I squeezed my feet into a pair, only to have my flesh ooze out of the little holes, not unlike Play-Doh through a garlic press. Determined to be in style, I lived through the pain for the morning, until my circulation was completely cut off and the shoes had to be carefully removed by cutting the plastic with small toenail scissors. "Don't you know better? Your feet will never be cute and small," said my mother as she encased my damaged feet safely in my brother's Converse.
So I bypass the adorable, strappy heels and the ballet flats and head to the industrial strength shoes with clunky heels and a "wide toe box". I have, on occasion, shopped in the men's department. The only relief I have had came during the grunge phase of the early 90s, when roomy Doc Martens were acceptable.
My current shoes were in such bad shape they had holes (colored in with a Sharpie to hide it on the black pair) and the interior looked and smelled like the inside of an apartment in the projects. I spent several days psyching myself up for a trip to Kohls for new shoes - I have to go to places where it's self-serve, because I cannot bear the thought of springing my hideous feet on an unsuspecting shoe salesman.
After looking longingly at the shiny patent-leather, low-cut pumps in cherry red that I always covet, I moved to the sturdy shoes. After trying them all on, I settled on a pair I like in brown and black. Then, I spied some Mary Jane heels that looked like they were well-suited for the drag queen population! They had them in my size! I tried them on and they fit! I quickly tossed them into my bag, envisioning a day soon when I would muster up enough courage to put on some tights and wear them with a sassy skirt (another fashion item I have trouble pulling off, what with my SNL Wide-Hip Family meets Bilbo Baggins body).
With a few new pairs of shoes in tow, I left the store in relief that I won't have to do it again for at least a year. Whew! Now back to my regular life...
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.